MASKS: Bowie & Artists of Artifice

J Curcio on 2016-12-05

An Anthology Published by Intellect Books

An Interdisciplinary Anthology Edited by James Curcio

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. — Oscar Wilde

This interdisciplinary anthology explores the complex relationship in an artist’s life between fact and fiction, presentation and existence, and critique and creation, and the work that ultimately results from these tensions.

Using a combination of critical and personal essays and interviews, MASKS presents Bowie as the key exemplifier of the concept of the “mask,” then further applies the same framework to other liminal artists and thinkers who challenged the established boundaries of the art/pop academic worlds, such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde, Søren Kierkegaard, Yukio Mishima, and Hunter S. Thompson. Featuring contributions from John Gray and Slavoj Žižek, and interviews with Gary Lachman and Davide De Angelis, this book will appeal to scholars and students of cultural criticism, aesthetics, and the philosophy of art; practicing artists; and fans of Bowie and other artists whose work enacts experiments in identity.

Available now. Order on or from the Publisher.


James Curcio is a writer, artist, and transmedia producer living part time in Philadelphia and full-time on the Internet. Among extensive independent art, music, and media credits, he is the author of numerous books including Join My Cult! (New Falcon, 2004), Party at the World’s End and Narrative Machines (Mythos Media, 2014, 2017). He is the editor of Other current projects include Tales From When I Had A Face, a full-color illustrated fairy-tale for adults.

Roy Starrs (PhD, University of British Columbia) is Associate Professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures at University of Otago. A prolific author, he has published dozens of essays and book chapters, and has edited and authored numerous books, including Soundings in Time: The Fictive Art of Yasunari Kawabata (Curzon Press, 1998), Modernism and Japanese culture. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), Rethinking Japanese modernism. (Global Oriental, 2012), and When the tsunami came to shore: Culture and disaster in Japan. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2014). He is the Japan editor of the online The Literary Encyclopedia.

Lúcio Reis-Filho (PhD, University Anhembi Morumbi) is a film critic and historian specializing in the relations between cinema, history and literature. Focusing on the horror genre, he wrote essays about zombies in contemporary Brazilian and Latin American films, published in journals such as the SFRA Review and horror-themed anthologies. He also contributed with a biographical study about George Romero in a Brazilian anthology on world independent cinema. Currently, researches the oeuvre of the American writer H.P. Lovecraft and the English musician David Bowie.

Casey Rae is an author, educator, and music business professional based in Washington, DC. As Director of Music Licensing for SiriusXM satellite radio, he oversees the direct licensing of audio for transmission across 150 channels. Previously, Casey served as the CEO of the Future of Music Coalition, a Washington, DC-based education and advocacy organization for musicians and composers. He is a professor at Georgetown University and Berklee Online, where has authored courses on digital disruption and media policy. Casey regularly speaks on issues such as emerging business models, creators’ rights, technology policy and intellectual property at worldwide conferences, universities, and in the media. He has testified before United States Congress and has written hundreds of articles on the impact of technology on the creative community in scholarly journals and other publications. Casey serves on the board of the Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, an organization dedicated to expanding opportunity for media makers in all 50 states and around the world. His book William S. Burroughs & the Cult of Rock ’n’ Roll will be published by University of Texas Press in 2019, followed by Music Copyright in Practice: an Authoritative Guide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). Casey also runs the DC-based label Lux Eterna Records and is the proud dad to two highly musical daughters.

Tara Isabella Burton (DPhil, University of Oxford) is a writer, critic, and literary scholar, and the staff religion writer at Her first novel, Social Creature, was published in 2018 by Doubleday. Her first nonfiction book, Strange Rites: Cults and Subcultures After the Death of God, is forthcoming from Public Affairs in 2019. Her work has also appeared in National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph, and more.

Yahia Lababidi (BA, George Washington University) is a critically acclaimed poet and writer. His work has appeared in film (Sleepdancing, by Swoon), on radio (NPR), in numerous popular periodicals (Harper’s Magazine, Salon, The London Magazine), literary journals (Poetry, Cimarron Review, Agni), and anthologies (With Our Eyes Wide Open, 2015; Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists, 2007). His books include Balancing Acts: New & Selected Poems, 1993–2015 (Press 53, 2016) and The Artist as Mystic: Conversations with Yahia Lababidi (Onesuch Press, 2012). Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Lababidi was chosen as a Juror for the 2012 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He has been featured on Best American Poetry, World Literature Today, The Guardian, NPR, Al Jazeera, and elsewhere. Chard deNiord, Poet Laureate of Vermont, has described his work as “resonates in plain-spoken yet dazzling poetry — sometimes epigrammatic, sometimes expansive — that betrays the eclectic transmissions of his myriad influences, from Rumi to Kierkegaard, Dickinson to Kafka.” Lababidi’s writing has been translated into several languages.

John Gray (DPhil, University of Oxford) is Emeritus Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, and over a distinguished career has taught at Essex, Tulane, Yale, Harvard, and Oxford. A prolific and critically acclaimed writer, he is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, The Guardian, and BBC Radio. He has authored dozens of books, including The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002), and Mill on Liberty: A Defence (Routledge, 1996). J. G. Ballard has described his work as “an essential guide to the new millennium.”

Tom Powers (PhD, Indiana University of Pennsylvania) is an Instructor of English at Montgomery County Community College. He is the author of Gender and the Quest in British Science Fiction Television (McFarland, 2016) and the co-author of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: The Discerning Fan’s Guide to Doctor Who (McFarland, 2007).

Kevin Hunt (PhD, University of Nottingham) is Senior Lecturer in Design, Culture and Context at Nottingham Trent University. He is a columnist for Flow: Online Journal of Television and Media Studies and blogs for The Huffington Post. He has published in scholarly collections such as Enchanting David Bowie (2015), and in multiple journals, such as Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty, and Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism.

Jean-François Martel (BA, University of Ottawa) is a writer and award-winning filmmaker working in the Canadian film and television industry. Among extensive credits, his documentary short, Cicada, won the Best Short Film award at the 2013 Canadian Film Festival; and his series of short documentaries, Champlain en vingt fragments (UNIS, 2015), won a Hermes Creative Gold Award and a Creativity International Silver Award in 2015. Jean-François is author of Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice (Evolver Editions, 2015), and has published multiple essays in anthologies and web magazines, such as Reality Sandwich, Metapsychosis, Disinfo and The Finch.

Michael Hunter (PhD, Stanford University) is a director, performance curator, and senior lecturer at California College of the Arts. As a theater director, he trained under the late Carl Weber, who was an assistant to Bertolt Brecht at the Berliner Ensemble in the 1950s. Hunter has staged works by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Eugène Ionesco, Joe Orton, Tennessee Williams, Tony Kushner, Heiner Müller, Jean Genet, and Witold Gombrowicz, to name a few. He is a cofounder of Collected Works, a San Francisco-based theater collective that specializes in novel interpretations of classic plays, usually performed in nontraditional spaces. With members of Collected Works, Hunter has also begun working on a project that uses performance to embody and narrativize archives. The first iteration took place last summer in San Francisco’s Museum of Performance and Design.

Slavoj Žižek (PhD, University of Paris VIII) is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Less Than Nothing; The Year of Dreaming Dangerously; Living in the End Times; First as Tragedy, Then as Farce; In Defense of Lost Causes; and many more.

Davide De Angelis was born in London, England and is a multi-award-winning designer and visionary artist. He is also a bestselling writer and futurist. In his personal life he is a passionate fruitarian, endurance athlete, and dad. He has worked for some of the most innovative companies and people in the world, including Apple, Virgin, Sony and for over seven years with the iconic David Bowie. His creative work is renowned for its experimental and beautiful ways of using language and images to powerfully communicate ideas. Bowie described Davide’s work as ‘potent visual alchemy’ and called him the ‘Visual Alchemist’, a title that has traveled with him through the years.

Gary Lachman (aka Gary Valentine) is a writer and musician. A founding member of the New Wave band, Blondie, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. His writing has appeared in numerous popular periodicals, such as The Guardian, Mojo, Times Literary Supplement, and elsewhere. A frequent guest on BBC Radio, he has authored more than dozen books, such as The Secret History of Consciousness (Lindisfarne, 2003), Caretakers of the Cosmos: Living Responsibly in an Unfinished World (Floris, 2013), and Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson (TarcherPerigee, 2016). His work has been translated into 10 languages.

John Harrigan is a Director, Writer and Artist. He is the Artistic Director and Founder at FoolishPeople and is one of the earliest pioneers of immersive theatre. His work as a writer, director and award winning filmmaker explores the inherent truth that each life holds. Harrigan’s work centers on the creation of film, ritual theatre, and installation art. He has performed at the ICA, the Horse Hospital, Arcola Theatre, and throughout London and the UK. His work has been presented internationally in the United States and Netherlands.

To be released internationally Jan 2020 by Intellect Books